Editor's Note: Turkey Talk for the Uninitiated

by 
Mary Sweeten, Editor, Weavers Way Shuttle
Just click to order!

I know people think we have a lot of rules at Weavers Way. That’s not really true any more, but Turkey Ordering Time is one of those things that still might make you go “Hmmm.” 

So for those of you who are new to this — and those who just never got the hang of it — here’s a little Weavers Way Turkey Ordering 2017 primer.

At the Co-op, we sell fresh, never-frozen Thanksgiving turkeys by pre-order. They are naturally raised and antibiotic-free. (Did I mention never frozen?) We get them from just three suppliers, all of them local:

Esbenshade: This Lancaster County family-run turkey farm supplies most of our turkeys and claims to be the oldest in the United States. Founded in 1858, they’re in Ronks, which is near Strasburg, and no, they don’t have a website. 

Koch’s: Another family-run operation, Koch’s is located in the lovely Lewistown Valley near Tamaqua in Schuylkill County. They supply us with Heirloom Bronze turkeys. (www.kochsturkey.com)

Empire Kosher: We also offer kosher turkeys from Empire, in Mifflintown, Juniata County, which is still within our 150-mile local radius. (www.empirekosher.com)

We think this is a great opportunity to put an exceptional turkey on your table. And we sell a lot of them — nearly 600 last year — so obviously, plenty of you agree. But if you’re used to picking through a bin full of frozen Butterballs and hauling one home, be aware that this is a little different. 

  • You’ll have to place your order in advance, and select the store where you’ll pick up.
  • You’ll also choose a size, and then only from a range, such as 12-14 lbs. or 18-20 lbs. Why? Because when we place the orders, these turkeys are still, um, alive.
  • You can’t order at the last minute. Because our suppliers, um, have to process the birds we order, then load them on a truck and drive them down here.
  • About that truck: You pay inside — based on the actual weight, finally — take your receipt and go out to the truck and someone will give you the box with your name on it!

We’ve been doing this for years, which is not to say there aren’t a few glitches and misunderstandings every season. We do order a few extra turkeys (they can be sold frozen if no one claims them), but don’t count on that. So order early and often!

And be nice to Norman, who manages this whole process. He’s a vegan.

The birds hanging out at Esbenshade, left, and in the boxes in the truck in the old days (note the member numbers); plus look what we made Crystal do when she first got here.